Children ran screaming, looking for a safe place.
I knew what was next. Soon we would be bombarded from above. I covered my tuna sandwich, and gathered up my chips. No room to hold the milk, it was on its own.
As the bombers flew over, I saw many of my friends hit with falling shrapnel. They screamed in terror as they realized they’d been struck. The Mark Twain Bombers had pooped on them.
When I was in fourth grade, Mark Twain Junior High School was close by. Every year their 8th graders had a homing pigeon project. They would let the homing pigeons out every day during our lunch period. The pigeons would head straight toward our playground and lunch area and poop on us. Every day we had to dodge flying bird poo from above. It was nerve wracking and clothes staining. More than once my beautiful tuna sandwich was ruined by bird guano that fell from the skies like some kind of demonic acid rain.
The memories are still painful and burned in my mind. Every time I see a pigeon I think of ruined lunches and shirts with yellow “mustard” stains on them. It’s amazing how things can stick in our minds.
I talk to people who had a bad experience in church, and the memories still linger. It may have been a boring preacher, or a Sunday School teacher who was mean, or it may have been some busybody who thought the Holy Spirit was on a lunch break so they decided to do the convicting. Whatever the reason or the hurt, these people are reluctant to get back into church or even see if a new one will fit better.
It would be seriously foolish for me to not go outside or eat tuna sandwiches just because of something that happened to me 43 years ago. I am sure that all of those pigeons from Mark Twain Junior High are dead and gone. Good riddance! They can’t hurt me anymore, so why would I let the bad memories of yesterday keep me from anything today?
I have been hurt by churches, and the people in them. I did my best to hide from God after my last church voted me out. A few of them decided they didn’t want me as pastor, and they got enough votes to end my employment. I couldn’t understand why God let it happen. Looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I would not pastor a non-traditional church like Remnant if I hadn’t gone through the hell I went through leaving that church. I can honestly say that Remnant is the most fun I’ve ever had in the ministry, and it was born in pain.
If you’re hiding from God because of a bad experience with a church or its people, you may be missing out on something incredible. Our pain hurts us, but it does not have to kill us. It can make us stronger, it can make us more resilient. It can even drive us to healing. Coming to Christ takes our pain and heals it. Psalm 103:2-5 says:
“O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.”
You may be hiding and running from the healing you desire so greatly. Come to Christ and see how your life changes.
Still checking the skies above… Jerry